Yoga mats

Several of my Yogis have asked me during the past few months for recommendations for yoga mats

A yoga mat is a very personal thing, and can make quite a difference to the comfort and feel of your personal practice. Yoga mats can also be pretty expensive, and it’s important therefore to get it right

Over the years I’ve had a variety of mats. I started with a fairly cheap mat I bought on Amazon for around £20, which seemed ok until I started my teacher training, and realised I needed a decent mat to cope with everyday use. I bought a rubber mat which was being pioneered by a Yogi from the US, and whilst it was comfortable, it was very slippy

When I began teaching, I bought a Manduka ProLite, which I’ve been really pleased with. Long-lasting - it’s actually guaranteed for life - totally non-slippy, and comfortable. However I left this at our yoga retreat house in France last autumn rather than bring it back and forth each time

I decided to buy a Jade Harmony Yoga mat, which had good reviews. This mat is made of rubber, and also came in a variety of colours. I chose the orange which looks great. I was initially very pleased with the mat. It provided excellent grip and comfort. However, I couldn’t get rid of the smell of rubber. I always wipe mats with a damp e-cloth after use, and despite many, many wipe cleans - and also a deep wash and scrub, as well as hanging the mat out in the open air, the smell remained. It started to really irritate me, especially doing mat-based poses

So I decided to cut my losses, and get another mat. I’ve just bought another Manduka mat - a Manduka Pro. It’s heavy, quite thick (6mm rather than the usual 4mm) - and I love it. It grips superbly - absolutely no sliding about. Irregardless of its thickness, the mat is solid, so balancing poses are a breeze. I’m already familiar with the hardwearing properties of Manduka mats, and I’m confident this will last me for many years

My studio mats are from the ‘sticky’ mat range from Yogamatters. They’re also hard-wearing, and I find they will last up to around 20 months before replacing

A mat that’s recently caught my eye is from the Divine Goddess range from Australia. I’ve been trialling one, thanks to the UK distributor . It’s made from recycled TPE, and the mats are completely biodegradable. They also have excellent grip, and at £37 are very affordable

Some of my Yogis have bought Manduka Eko mats, which they’re pleased with. These mats are rubber, but don’t have the lingering smell. I know several people who’ve bought the Liforme mats, which they are delighted with. The Lululemon mats are also supposed to be pretty good too

In summary, there are simply loads of yoga mats to choose from. So take your time, and consider different mats before purchasing - perhaps ask your friends to try their mats if they don’t mind. And like guitars and bikes, maybe you can’t have too many mats!